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Crime and Punishment

Crime and Punishment

by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Crime and Punishment Themes

Little Words, Big Ideas

Criminality

As you might have guessed from the title, Fyodor Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment is obsessed with crime, criminality, and vice. Like many of the best books, it asks more questions than it answers...

Justice and Judgment

Crime and Punishment is very interested in the idea of "judgment" – judgment of self, of others, judgment of and by society, and judgment of and by religion. The novel asks us to judge not on...

Love

Since violence and criminality dominate much of Fyodor Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment, we often have to peel back layers of text to get to the love. Most of the novel's "romantic" relationships...

Violence

You could say that Fyodor Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment is a book about an ex-student turned murderer who wanders around St. Petersburg, Russia trying to save children and young women from bad...

Versions of Reality

Dreams and hallucinations, as well as questions of madness, sanity, and existence are huge parts of Crime and Punishment. The novel is deeply psychological and most of us can relate to at least som...

Suffering

We dare you to find a chapter in Fyodor Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment without some form of the word "suffer" in it, or without some person (or animal) suffering terrible physical and/or psychol...

The Home

We get some grim visions of "home" in Fyodor Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment. Often, the home is a site of violence, abuse, and extreme poverty, a trap that seems impossible to escape. Eviction a...

Drugs and Alcohol

There's plenty of alcohol in Fyodor Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment, and it isn't romanticized or celebrated in any way. In this novel, alcohol is nearly always a symbol or symptom of weakness, a...

Education

We never see the outside of a school, much less the inside of one, in Fyodor Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment. Yet, we would argue that this is a "college book" because two of its main character's...

Religion

As novelist and critic A.N. Wilson says, "[Fyodor Dostoevsky's] views on religion are notoriously hard to pin down with confidence" (source). Hearing this is bit of a relief, isn't it? Some version...

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